Neuropathy in Feet: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Neuropathy in Feet: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Posted by EcoSox on Jun 11th 2024

Neuropathy in feet is a common condition that can significantly impact your quality of life. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for neuropathy in feet can help you manage this condition effectively and improve your overall foot health. We’ll also answer one of the most sought-after questions, “Does walking help with neuropathy in feet?”

What Is Neuropathy in Feet?

Neuropathy in feet, also known as peripheral neuropathy, refers to the damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms, most commonly affecting the hands and feet. Individuals with neuropathy in their feet often experience sensations such as numbness, tingling, burning pain, weakness, and changes in reflexes and sensation.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy in the feet can lead to a range of symptoms that can significantly impact your daily life. Here are some of the primary symptoms associated with neuropathy in feet.

Numbness and Tingling

Neuropathy can cause numbness and tingling sensations in your feet, which can make it difficult to detect changes in temperature or injuries. You may notice a loss of sensation or a pins-and-needles sensation in your feet, leading to challenges with walking and balance.

Burning or Shooting Pain

Another common symptom of neuropathy in the feet is burning or shooting pain, which may be constant or intermittent. This type of pain can occur in one or both feet and may be exacerbated by physical activity or pressure on your feet.

Weakness and Muscle Atrophy

Peripheral neuropathy in the feet can cause weakness and muscle atrophy, which can affect your balance, coordination, and mobility. You may find it challenging to perform daily tasks such as walking, standing, and climbing stairs.

Changes in Sensation and Reflexes

Neuropathy can alter your sense of touch and reflex responses, affecting how you perceive your environment. You may experience sensitivity to touch temperature changes in your feet or diminished reflexes.

Foot Deformities

In some cases, neuropathy can contribute to the development of foot deformities and structural changes. You may notice changes in the shape of your foot or toes, such as claw toes or hammer toes.

Causes and Risk Factors for Peripheral Neuropathy

Neuropathy in feet can have various causes, and identifying the underlying cause of neuropathy in feet determines the appropriate treatment and management strategies. Here are some common causes and risk factors associated with peripheral neuropathy.


Diabetes is one of the leading causes of neuropathy in feet. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves over time, leading to the development of peripheral neuropathy. Proper management of diabetes is crucial in preventing and managing neuropathy.


Physical injury, such as trauma or repetitive stress, can damage the nerves in your feet and lead to neuropathy. Accidents, falls, or sports-related injuries can cause nerve damage and subsequent symptoms in the feet.

Systemic Illness

Certain systemic illnesses, such as kidney, liver, or autoimmune disorders, can contribute to the development of peripheral neuropathy. These conditions can affect nerve health and function, leading to symptoms in the feet.


Certain infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles, or HIV/AIDS, can cause neuropathy in the feet. These infections can directly damage the nerves or trigger an inflammatory response that affects nerve health.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, such as those associated with thyroid disorders or hormonal changes during pregnancy, can contribute to peripheral neuropathy. Fluctuations in hormone levels can affect nerve function and lead to symptoms in the feet.

Certain Medications

Some medications, including certain chemotherapy drugs, antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS and certain antibiotics, can cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. It is important to discuss any potential medication-related neuropathy with your healthcare provider.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12, can lead to nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy. Maintain a balanced diet and ensure adequate vitamin intake to prevent deficiencies that may contribute to neuropathy.

Inherited Disorders

In some cases, neuropathy in feet can be inherited through genetic conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. These inherited disorders affect the peripheral nerves and can lead to symptoms in the feet.

Treatment Options for Peripheral Neuropathy in the Feet

When it comes to managing peripheral neuropathy in the feet, treatment aims to address both the underlying cause and alleviate the associated symptoms. The following are common treatment options.

Medication To Relieve Pain

Medications can be prescribed to help manage the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Depending on the severity and type of pain, different medications may be used, including over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or prescription medications, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or opioids. Medications should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Managing the Underlying Medical Condition

If peripheral neuropathy is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease, managing that condition prevents further nerve damage and symptoms. This may involve carefully controlling blood sugar levels in the case of diabetes or receiving appropriate treatment for the underlying autoimmune condition.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy improves strength, mobility, and quality of life for individuals with peripheral neuropathy. Physical therapists can design exercises and techniques that specifically target the affected muscles and nerves in the feet.

Regular physical therapy sessions can help improve balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls and promoting overall foot health.

Lifestyle Changes

Incorporating certain lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to symptom management and overall foot health for individuals with peripheral neuropathy. Here are some key lifestyle changes to consider.

Maintaining Good Foot Hygiene

Proper foot hygiene prevents infections or injuries. Due to reduced sensation in the feet, small cuts, blisters, or sores may go unnoticed and lead to complications. Wash and inspect your feet daily, keep them clean and dry, moisturize with a gentle lotion, trim toenails carefully, and wear clean socks made of breathable materials.

Wearing Comfortable, Well-Fitting Shoes

Proper footwear provides support and cushioning, reducing the risk of foot injuries. Choose shoes that fit well, have a cushioned sole, and provide adequate support. Avoid tight or restrictive footwear that may cause friction or pressure points on the feet.

Wearing proper socks, such as Ecosox health and wellness socks designed for individuals with neuropathy, can also provide comfort and protection for your feet. Their diabetic non-binding bamboo crew socks and quarter socks are specifically designed to offer comfort, protection, and foot health solutions for individuals with diabetes, edema, or neuropathy.

Avoiding Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can worsen nerve damage and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Limit alcohol intake or avoid it altogether to reduce the risk of exacerbating nerve damage and maintaining overall foot health.

Implementing a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals is beneficial for nerve health and overall well-being. Include foods that are high in essential nutrients for nerve health, such as vitamin B12, in your diet. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to support nerve function.

Engaging in Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity, specifically low-impact exercises, can help promote circulation, strengthen muscles, and improve nerve function in individuals with peripheral neuropathy.

Engage in activities like walking, swimming, or cycling that are gentle on the feet and promote overall fitness. We suggest that you consult with a physical therapist to design a safe and effective exercise routine tailored to your condition.

Alternative Therapies

Some individuals may find relief from peripheral neuropathy symptoms using alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), or herbal supplements.

However, consult with a healthcare professional before starting any alternative therapy to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Does Walking Help Neuropathy in Feet?

Walking can provide several benefits for individuals with neuropathy in their feet. Regular exercise, including walking, can help manage neuropathy symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Pain Reduction and Nerve Function Improvement

Walking can help reduce neuropathy pain. Regular physical activity, such as walking three times a week, has been shown to lower pain levels in individuals with neuropathy. Walking stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals. This can contribute to a reduction in pain perception and discomfort.

In addition, walking can improve nerve function. Engaging in physical activity increases blood flow to the nerves, promoting their health and function. Enhanced circulation can help deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the nerves, potentially aiding in nerve repair and regeneration.

Muscle Strength and Balance Improvement

Walking also helps improve muscle strength and balance. Peripheral neuropathy in the feet can lead to weakened muscles, which can further contribute to pain and instability. Regular walking and exercise can help strengthen the muscles in the feet and legs, reducing pressure on the nerves and improving overall stability and balance.

Strengthening the muscles through walking can also improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Stronger muscles can support the joints and provide better foot and ankle control, leading to improved posture and reduced risk of injury.

Blood Sugar Control

For individuals with diabetic neuropathy, walking can aid in controlling blood sugar levels. Regular physical activity, including walking, helps to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetic neuropathy can potentially prevent further nerve damage and minimize neuropathy symptoms.

Tips for Incorporating Walking into Your Routine

To maximize the benefits of walking for neuropathy in the feet, follow these tips.

Start Slowly

Begin with shorter distances and a comfortable pace that you feel confident in. As your endurance and comfort levels improve, gradually increase both the distance and the intensity of your walks. This incremental approach allows your body to adjust and adapt to the exercise gradually.

Warm-up and Cool-down

Before walking, engage in gentle stretching exercises that focus on the muscles in your feet, calves, and legs to warm up the muscles and joints. This warm-up prepares your body for physical activity, reduces the risk of injury, and improves circulation to the muscles.

After completing your walk, remember to cool down by performing post-walk stretches. This helps prevent muscle soreness, improves flexibility, and promotes recovery.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to any discomfort, pain, or signs of overexertion during walking. If you experience any adverse effects, consult your healthcare professional or physical therapist for guidance.

Manage Neuropathy in Feet Today

Individuals with neuropathy in their feet need to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for effective management and improvement of their overall foot health.

Taking proactive steps to manage the underlying medical conditions of neuropathy in feet, adopting healthy lifestyle changes, and seeking appropriate medical care can reduce the risk of complications and improve their quality of life.

For individuals looking for foot health solutions, Ecosox offers a range of diabetic and non-binding bamboo socks that provide comfort, protection, and relief for those with diabetes, edema, or neuropathy while walking or exercising. Don't let neuropathy hinder your foot health, try Ecosox socks today!